A Mexican citizen has been sentenced in smuggling undocumented people across the U.S. border after being caught by the U.S. Border Patrol 24 times.
Efrain Delgado-Rosales has been sentenced to five years in prison for smuggling four people into the U.S., reports CNN.
Delgado-Rosales picked up the men from a house in Tijuana, then walked them to the Mexican border fence and left them for hours. While he was gone, robbers took thousands of dollars and phones from them. The men suspected he was involved in the robberies.
Delgado-Rosales then abandoned them in the Otay Mountains, said a report on NBC 7 San Diego.
One of the men said they had trouble keeping up with Delgado-Rosales during the journey through the mountains, and had to convince him to go back for the other three when they fell behind.
The men said they and their families together had promised to pay $20,000 to get the four men across the border.
The Border Patrol found Delgado-Rosales and the four men about one mile north of the U.S.-Mexican border after they had hiked for almost a day through the mountains.
The U.S. Border Patrol had apprehended Delgado-Rosales 24 times since 1999 for smuggling people across the Mexican border into the United States. The patrol had not charged him until now.
Delgado-Rosales was processed and deported to Mexico, said Assistant U.S. District Attorney Alexandra Foster. In all of his arrests except one, Delgado-Rosales was caught with other undocumented people. In 2003, he was caught with 61 undocumented people in a house in Los Angeles.
Laura Duffy, a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, said the arrest points to the "extreme dangers" of illegally crossing the border.
"Our office will aggressively prosecute those who smuggle illegal aliens into the United States for financial gain, place those in their company in grave danger and needlessly cause deaths," Duffy said.
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